New Testament Priests, Speak Up! - Mike Stephenson
John Scarsbrook, Killamarsh, England
Paperback, 79 pages.
Published by ECS Ministries, PO Box 1028, Dubuque, IA 52004-1028.
The title and theme of this book will strike a chord with many who would love to hear more audible contribution from certain fellow brethren, particularly at the Lord’s Supper. The writer explains that participation in worship is not a matter of gift or ability with oratory, but should be seen as both a privilege and a responsibility by those who have an appreciation of the Lord Jesus.
As one would expect from an ECS publication, a number of ‘training sessions’ are set out in the first part, with corresponding ‘worksheets’ at the end. For the general reader, however, these do not detract from the overall purpose and practical approach to the subject, which commences in part two of the book.
The writer sets out the primary purpose of the Lord’s Supper, emphasizing the priesthood of all believers, both male and female, while maintaining the scriptural role for each. Stephenson considers the practical reasons which lead to a reticence on the part of some, but suggests that there is really no reason why the males in the assembly, if on self-examination are in a right spiritual condition, should not participate audibly in the Lord’s Supper.
He deals with the importance of worship in the life of all believers, without limiting its place to the Lord’s Supper. Also, practical matters such as wisdom in choice of hymns, brevity in participation and clarity of delivery, whether reading the scriptures or taking part in prayer and thanksgiving.
This book, though brief, has much to commend it, as it deals with a very relevant issue in our present day. The only jarring note for the present reviewer is the repeated reference to ‘Brethren assemblies’, which he indicates were launched in the early part of the 19th century by William Kelly and others. The remembrance of the Lord Jesus supersedes any denominational tag!